How they trick us with LED lights to “save energy”


As we all know, the great energy alternative that came in to replace traditional light bulbs was the leds. LED bulbs are very energy efficient, but maintain the look and feel of an incandescent bulb.

And it is that, technically, LED bulbs are not bulbs: LED stands for “light-emitting diode”. They are tiny semiconductors (diodes) wrapped in plastic to protect the elements and focus the light. light.

When we talk about a “traditional light bulb,” we mean an incandescent light bulb, the kind that has been around since Thomas Edison patented his invention in 1879. These light bulbs they have filaments that glow, producing heat and light when energy flows through them.

LED lights, on the other hand, have electrons that flow to create photons – light that we can see. Photons generate almost no heat. LED lights also require much less energy to create the same amount of brightness as incandescent lights, and they last much longer.

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LED bulbs use 75% less energy than traditional lighting. At low power levels, the difference is even greater. However, today we are not here to talk about the advantages of LED compared to lightning traditional.

Today’s topic focuses on how the LED boom has caused us all to go crazy and completely change the lighting in our homes, businesses and all kinds of establishments, but really we are only increasing consumption.

Despite LED efficiency, we may not be saving as much as we thought

According to data consultancy IHS Markit, LED lights use much less energy per lumen produced. LED lighting uses an average of 40% less energy than fluorescent lamps, and 80% less than incandescent lamps to produce the same amount of light.

The big problem comes when we make the big change to this novelty and begin to illuminate our rooms, whatever they are, with more light than we really need. Lighting is cheaper now, but we are making exorbitant use of these new forms.

A study published in the journal Science Advances used photos from space to show that we are using more lighting than ever. The artificially illuminated surface of the Earth at night increases in luminosity and extent. Of course here, a picture is worth a thousand words.

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“While a central goal of the lighting revolution is lowering energy consumption, the goal could be undermined by a rebound effect of higher energy use in response to lower cost of light”they explain.

LED strips in a mirrors

We may be fighting against air pollution, but to this battle we must now add a new opponent: light pollution. And of course, logically this for manufacturers is a bottomless pit of benefits that they are not willing to give up.

To this we must add the “problem” of tolerance to play with the values ​​of their products. To understand, the tolerance in terms of measurement, is the difference between the maximum and minimum dimensions of the errors that are allowed.

The European tests for light bulbs allow a tolerance threshold of 10% (there can be a lag of up to 10% between what it indicates and reality)which means that a bulb rated at 600 lumens, a measure of brightness, might actually be 540 lumens, but then again, they’re charging you more.

Indeed, the life time of the bulbs must also be taken into account, since manufacturers promise more than 1,000 hours of use in incandescent bulbs, although there are some that have been working for 120 years.

Manufacturers of LED bulbs such as Philips guarantee their LED bulbs for 15,000 effective hours of use and 20,000 starts. But not all manufacturers have the same guarantees.

In the writing of ComputerHoy we have seen how LED bulbs from other brands have blown in our homes long before those 15,000 hours of use, so the supposed savings are in question.

Another of the big problems that favors manufacturers and electricity companies

To all this, as if that were not enough, we must add that the only real winners of this boom are manufacturers and power companies. On the one hand, manufacturers are interested in this new system since instead of selling traditional bulbs, they can now sell LED replacements inflated by excessive marketing, although their prices are no longer an issue.

On the other hand, power companies have a faulty infrastructure if we consider a power grid at its maximum. It would cost them billions to revamp the entire system so they encourage businesses and governments to spend their money on new LED lighting.

In a nutshell, LED lighting has its undeniable advantages.. It’s great for the environment and will reduce your carbon footprint, but financially speaking it’s building a business behind which we always end up losing as ordinary consumers, although we’re also not making mature use of this new way of lighting our homes and companies.